Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Skin Walker, Co-Starring Udo Kier

You could definitely say Regine has family issues. She thought her deformed half-brother Isaac died in child-birth, but he might have survived to become the monster killing people in the woods. Either way, her father is still Udo Kier, so she certainly did not have it easy growing up. She has returned for her unbeloved grandmother’s funeral, but stays to uncover her family secrets in Christian Neuman’s Skin Walker, which releases today on VOD and DVD.

Regine had a traumatic childhood, as her fractured memories and flashbacks cannot attest. Just when she is poised to start a new life with her grungy boyfriend, she returns home to the family chateau. Claus, her old pops is not exactly welcoming. Instead, it is her mother’s old lover Robert who wants to talk to her. Partly, he wants to warn her about Isaac, but sees her as a means to reconnect with her mother. In fact, things get a little weird between them. Unless, Regine is just plain nuts.

Buckle up sports fans, because Neuman’s jarring narrative shifts could cause whiplash. Honestly,
Skin Walker plays like a film that had two or three cast-members die during production and was subsequently cobbled together by the producers, as best they could. Logic goes out the window, but it almost takes on the up-and-down thrills of a roller coaster—almost but not quite.

Instead of being crazy in a good way,
Skin Walker is crazy in relentlessly out-of-control way. When you watch it with a friend, you’ll just look at each other when its over and say: “well that was that.” Amber Anderson probably is not particularly good as Regine, but you have to give her credit for maintaining some semblance of a character amidst all the chaos. Nevertheless, Udo Kier does his Udo Kier thing as grouchy old Claus. He survived those Andy Warhol-produced Dracula and Frankenstein movies, as well as numerous Lars von Trier productions, so Skin Walker was surely just another day at the office for him.

The weirdest part about this film is how much effort went into making something almost totally lacking in narrative logic. Visually, it is a lushly stylish film. Cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller and Enrico Job’s production design team give it a richly ominous gothic look. Any reviewer who constantly screens new films should not resent their time spent with it, but plunking down hard-earned money for it is another matter entirely. Basically, this is just for hardcore cult movie fans who dig cinema at its most extreme, ragged, and altogether off-the-wall. You’ve been so advised on
Skin Walker, releasing today (8/4) on DVD and VOD platforms.